“Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet”.
-Old Portuguese saying
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL PORTO – VIANA DO CASTELO
Arrive at Porto Airport to begin your Northern Portugal and Spain tour. Pick up your rental car and drive directly to your hotel. Check in and meet your guide here. Drive to nearby Viana do Castelo with your guide. This town is dotted with palaces, convents, churches, fountains all covered in decorative tiles. Take the funicular up to mount Santa Luzia where you’ll see the ocean and the Lima River delta below. Visit Sacred Heart Church here. Later walk down to the port and board the historical Gil Eanes ship that was built here in Viana. Return to your hotel in the evening.
DAY 2- – PARQUE NACIONAL DE PENEDA – GERES
Meet your guide and small group at your hotel. Drive in your guide’s 4×4 into the hills of Geres. Hike on centuries’ old paths cut through the woods on your way to the best viewpoints in the park. See parts of the Via XVII Roman highway that ran from Braga to Astorga in Spain. We’ll stop at the hot springs, see wild horses and enjoy a beautiful palette of colors in nature. A picnic lunch is included.
DAY 3- BRAGA AND GUIMARAES
In the morning, meet your guide for the day and visit Santuario do Bom Jesús do Monte and the University. Leave Braga for the short ride to Citania de Briteiros. Stop here for a tour of a ruined Celtic town. See the small houses built on “blocks” high above the plains. Continue to nearby Guimaraes, where your guide will take you on a visit of the fortress/castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.
In Guimaraes, combine your history tour with stops in different taverns around town. Your guide will order typical dishes like arroz de cabidela, breaded cod, rojoes or toucinho-do-ceu. In the evening, return to your hotel.
DAY 4- SANTIAGO
Drive to Santiago de Compostela. As you arrive, meet your guide for a tapas tour. Walk the cobblestoned streets where you’ll see the pilgrims’ symbols guiding them to the cathedral. Learn the traditions carried out by each pilgrim as they reach the city and end their journey at the cathedral. Visit St. James Cathedral to see the remains of the saint. Along the way, stop off in local taverns, cafés and tapas bars for a combination of mouthwatering dishes and cool Albariño wine.
DAY 5- TITO BUSTILLO AND OVIEDO
Drive through the Rías and along the Asturian coast to Asturias and the small town of Ribadesella. Arrive at Tito Bustillo Cave and visit the Prehistoric Painting Museum followed by a walk through the cave. Continue to Oviedo. As you arrive, make a stop to visit Sta. María del Naranco Chapel and San Miguel del Lillo, two pre-Romanesque, 9th century chapels. Meet your guide after lunch for a walking tour of the old town and what remains of the Jewish Quarters. Enter the 14th century cathedral and its Holy Chamber (built to hide Christian treasures from the Moors). Stay in the countryside just outside Oviedo.
DAY 6- SANTANDER AND ASTURIAS
Drive along the northern coast to Santander. This is a free day during your northern Portugal and Spain trip, so take your time. We recommend you make 3 stops in the following charming, small villages: San Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas and Santillana del Mar. Stroll the quaint cobblestone streets, mingle with the locals and sample simple small-town fare. End the day at your hotel in Santander.
DAY 7- SANTANDER
Take a walking tour of the streets of this coastal city. Visit the historic quarter to see majestic 17th and 18th century buildings situated against a natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Continue along the wide bay to El Sardinero Beach and La Magdalena Peninsula. Along the way, you’ll stop in local taverns for a selection of delicious tapas and pintxos paired with local vintages.
DAY 8- BILBAO
Leave Cantabria behind today to drive into the Basque country. You’ll find the language and customs are completely different from what you’ve experienced so far in Galicia and Asturias. Meet your guide just outside the Guggenheim Museum for a tour of this century’s art.
Later, follow your guide along the river into the Old Town for a tour of the 7 streets. Complete the day with a gourmet Basque meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Drive on to your hotel in San Sebastián.
DAY 9- SAN SEBASTIAN
About midday, your guide will be waiting in the hotel lobby to take you on a walking tour of the Old Town and Romantic Quarters. Along the way, stop in at several famous pintxo bars to experience the city’s pintxo culture.
DAY 10- FRENCH BASQUE COUNTRY
Take a day trip north into French Basque Country. Steeped in folklore, the Basques are among the oldest people groups in the world. Begin with your guide at Biarritz, one of the most luxurious seaside resorts on the Basque Coast, known for its surfing. Learn the legends of its pirates and whalers. Continue on to St. Jean de Luz, a lovely small village where you’ll see the home of Louis XIV and the St. Jean Baptiste Church. Take some time on your own for lunch here.
Finish the day with a walk through medieval Bayonne, UNESCO heritage site, and part of
the French St James’ Way. Return to San Sebastián in the evening.
DAY 11- RIOJA LAKE DISTRICT AND WINES
Drive south through Rioja wine country to Laguardia. Your guide will be waiting for an easy walk through the countryside on a birdwatching route in the lake district of Lagunar Laguardia, picnic included. After lunch, we’ll head to Balcón del Ebro where you’ll either help gather grapes or participate in making the wine at a family-run winery. Tour the winery and finish the day with a wine tasting dinner.
Begin the drive south through the Valle del Duero towards Zamora for your next city on the northern Portugal and Spain trip. Make a midmorning stop in Burgos. Meet your guide here for a walking tour of the Jewish Quarters, cathedral and Cartuja de Miraflores Monastery. Burgos was known for its sword makers and in the city center you’ll find plenty of replicas on sale. Take some time for lunch before continuing towards your hotel in Zamora.
DAY 14 – RETURN TO PORTO
Cross back over the border into Portugal, making your way to Porto for one last night. This tour can also end anywhere else.
DAY 15 – DEPARTURE
Meet your driver for the ride to the airport and the end of your northern Portugal and Spain trip.
Where do you want to travel? We'd be delighted to design a trip for you!